Articles Tagged Success

Mar 12, 2012
In business, as in soccer, strategies require time to play out

“Our strategy requires time to play out. It is a strategy designed to build sustainable long-term value for our constituents, beginning with serving our customers best. The performance metrics that matter to us are not the typical Wall Street trailing financial output indicators. Instead, they are the metrics that reflect industry thought leadership, high customer […]

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Mar 04, 2012
Why should one examination make or break a child’s life?

Another year, another set of Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education results. And another year in which parents, children and the media go into a seemingly uncontrollable frenzy about the significance of the results. I have written about this peculiar phenomenon before, and no doubt will again. For I fail to understand why we have to […]

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Feb 19, 2012
Are you a happy-clappy optimist or a sour pessimist?

Do you get the feeling that slowly, painfully, a new Kenya is being born? So do I. The old guard are being forced to concede ground; the old ways will soon be consigned to history. A new Kenya, one fit for the young and the connected as well as the decent and the discerning, will […]

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Jan 29, 2012
How good are the parts the world doesn’t see?

Looking at Apple’s fourth-quarter 2011 results is enough to boggle the mind. Which company do you know that grows its revenues at more than 70%; that sells a million (expensive) iPhones every three days; that sells more phones every day than there are babies born in the world; and that is currently worth more than […]

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Jan 23, 2012
To become better at business, read more…novels

“1. Reading stories can fine-tune your social skills by helping you better understand other human beings. 2. Entering imagined worlds builds empathy and improves your ability to take another person’s point of view. 3. A love affair with narrative may gradually alter your personality—in some cases, making you more open to new experiences and more […]

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Jan 01, 2012
May these be the things you achieve in 2012

I attended a graduation ceremony recently, and was struck by something said by one the graduands, a class president. She quoted Ralph Waldo Emerson, certainly one of the more quotable people who ever passed through this planet. Here is the quotation:    “To laugh often and much; to win the respect of intelligent people and […]

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Dec 05, 2011
If it’s just about you, nothing will outlast you

“The I.B.M. lesson, Mr. Palmisano said, is never become wedded to what you make, but to the values the corporation stands for. After all, I.B.M. started out making clocks, scales, punched card tabulators, and cheese slicers (“the world’s fastest at the time,” he noted). “The history of business is a bone pile of companies that […]

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Oct 02, 2011
To succeed tomorrow, say these 3 words today

There are three words you need to be able to say often if you are to have any success in today’s world. Those three words are: I DON’T KNOW. Those are in fact the three words most people of accomplishment are least likely to say. We are conditioned by our education, and indeed by early […]

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Sep 25, 2011
Why the standard CV hides what we really need to know

Microblogger @oshinity3 tweeted an arresting thought recently. To paraphrase, she asked people whether they still stated on their curricula vitae the fact that they were skilled in MS Word/Excel/PowerPoint, etc. Most people do. Why, asked @oshinity3, does this still matter? What she’s pointing out is that people have an ingrained tendency to freeze into one […]

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Sep 19, 2011
Here’s a little secret about sustained product success

“We’re always searching for that secret formula, that magic pixie dust to sprinkle over our products, services, books, causes, brands, blogs to bring them to life and make them Super Successful. Most marketing-related buzzwords gain traction by promising pixie dust results if applied to whatever it is we make, do, sell. “Add more Social!”. “Just […]

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Aug 21, 2011
Success comes from daily habits, not natural talent

Haruki Murakami is widely regarded as one of the world’s most interesting, original writers. His novels frequently combine elements of the bizarre and the mundane, the surreal and the banal in such odd measure that the reader is left baffled, rattled, disturbed – but always interested. Murakami has won numerous awards and accolades, and has […]

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Aug 07, 2011
To succeed in today’s world, you must dare to matter

“We are surrounded by Bureaucrats, Note Takers, Literalists, Manual Readers, TGIF Labourers, Map Followers, and Fearful Employees.” That’s Seth Godin describing what most people in the world do. Last week, I asked you all whether you are “Godfreys” – just a random name I chose for all the people described above. So look at the […]

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Jul 31, 2011
Do you stand out from the crowd? Unlikely…

Have you ever read a book where you want to stand up on your bed (that’s where I read) and clap on every other page? Seth Godin’s Linchpin is just that book for me. It is a manifesto, a call to action, a drumroll. So you can imagine how fortunate I felt to meet the […]

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Apr 18, 2011
My best advice for managing perceptions – just be yourself

“Executive coach Elizabeth Kuhnke offers some simple tips that can make the difference between being perceived as powerful or merely part of the pack. 1. Consider your stance. Place your hands facing each other and steeple your fingers. This forces your palms apart and, whether you are sitting or standing, your arms will take up […]

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Mar 10, 2011
On NTV PMLive with Larry Madowo, Friday 11 March from noon

I’ll be discussing our peculiar businesses with Larry on NTV, at noon tomorrow.

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Sep 12, 2010
We need more art, artists and artistry

Can we please stop this Sunday to record a debt of gratitude to all the artists in our midst? Those who create original works of the imagination – be they paintings, books, music, poetry, drama, films, sculptures – make our hearts soar. They deserve all our applause. Think about it: when does your heart sing? […]

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Apr 25, 2010
How big do you want your life to be?

Paul Hewson was in Nairobi recently. That won’t mean much to you, until I explain that I was referring to Bono, the world-famous lead singer of rock band U2, and campaigner against global poverty. Bono didn’t really make much noise while in Kenya. He attended the Nation Media Group’s Pan-Africa Media Conference, went to a […]

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Mar 28, 2010
Your personal standards drive success

How were your cornflakes this Sunday morning? One of my oldest friends told me something interesting about his consumption of cereals. He asserted that the milk you add to cornflakes has to be very cold, otherwise the taste is ruined. I was about to dismiss this as individual fastidiousness, but my attention was piqued and […]

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Mar 21, 2010
Why reality usually has nothing to do with plans

Last week this column looked at two words: Event and Process. This week I want to engage you in a discussion about two more: PLAN and REALITY. The need to think about these words came to me on a recent flight. Anyone who has flown on a commercial flight will be familiar with the in-flight […]

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Mar 14, 2010
To succeed, make the crucial distinction between event and process

This Sunday I want to focus your attention on two seemingly simple words: EVENT and PROCESS. The difference between these words, I would like to argue, is that between earth and sky, between success and failure, between dream and reality. Yet we are confusing these words every day in Kenya and retarding our progress. Our […]

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Feb 15, 2010
The key to success: enjoy yourself thoroughly!

“Because starting a business is a huge amount of hard work, requiring a great deal of time, you had better enjoy it. When I started Virgin from a basement flat in west London, I did not set out to build a business empire. I set out to create something I enjoyed that would pay the […]

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Dec 13, 2009
MJ’s “This Is It”: The pursuit of perfection

This column doesn’t do film reviews. Every so often, however, a film experience comes along that requires you to break your own rules. Michael Jackson’s “This Is It” is one such experience, and one that I am happy to ask you not to miss, if you have any interest in the nature and experience of […]

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Oct 12, 2009
The chains of past success shackle us

“Suppose you went to a doctor who said: “I’m going to do an appendectomy on you.” When you asked why, the doctor answered, “because I did one on my last patient and it made him better.” We suspect you would hightail it out of that office, because you know that the treatment ought to be […]

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Sep 14, 2009
Learning from the Crocs shooting star phenomenon

“For a while, they were just right there, in the middle of American culture,” says Richard Polk, the owner of Pedestrian Shops and, based in Boulder, Colo. Polk’s store was the first real shoe store to stock the crazy-looking plastic shoes, a few years back, when they first roared out of nearby Aurora to […]

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Aug 24, 2009
To understand success and failure, try visiting the graveyard

“More than two thousand years ago, the Roman orator, belletrist, thinker, Stoic, manipulator-politician, and (usually) virtuous gentleman, Marcus Tullius Cicero, presented the following story. One Diagoras, a nonbeliever in the gods, was shown painted tablets bearing the portraits of some worshippers who prayed, then survived a subsequent shipwreck. The implication was that praying protects you […]

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Jul 26, 2009
Dependency culture is crippling many

We don’t have a welfare state in Kenya. Or do we? Look at it this way. Of our 35-plus million people, only around 2 million are in any form of ‘formal’ or ‘modern’ employment. Kenya as a country offers proper employment to fewer people than Wal-Mart does. It is these few people who form most […]

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Jun 15, 2009
Did your CEO just win an award? Start worrying…

“Team titles might be what matter to them most, but football fans are also generally pleased if a player in their team wins an award. Publishers rarely object when their authors win Booker or Nobel prizes for literature. So how should shareholders in a company feel when the company’s chief executive wins an accolade such […]

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Apr 26, 2009
Reclaiming good values in Kenya: what’s your personal agenda?

I went on the attack against the ‘followers’ in this country last week, and asked that we all examine our everyday behaviour rather than wait for ‘leaders’ to sort us out. The attack continues this week. We heard recently that a magistrate had been killed and his body dumped on the roadside. Newspaper reports now […]

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